To close read and beyond...Part Deux

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Well folks, the end of this semester is near, and I'm not going to lie, I am going to miss blogging. In fact I may continue it over the summer. Here is my Portfolio 2 which contains all the blogging I have completed for the second part of American Literature 1915-Present. I feel as though I have gained a greater understanding of how to close read. I enjoyed reading and blogging greatly. I do feel as though my first portfolio was a little better than this one becasue I went into more in depth in the blogs from the first half of the semester. I am not sure why this happened, but in this half, I did have some blogs that went in great depth.

The blogs will be divided into different sections like the first one: Coverage, Timeliness, Interaction, Depth, and Discussion. I will explain briefly what each section means but if you would like to see a more in depth description, please follow this link

Coverage: Here are all the blogs I have completed in the second half od this semester.

Timeliness: Most of my blogs this half have been submitted on time, but here are a few of them.

Interaction: Although most of my blogs have received comments, These are ones that I got a good conversation going.

Depth: In these blogs I feel as though I went most in depth.

Discussion: Here are some other people blogs in which I feel I left good comments.

The little things...

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"HENRI, sudden sharpness: It is true, Felix! And the symptom of course is orange hair." (Miller 12).

I really liked a lot of the little references to things throughout the play. For example the quote above means that the children are suffering from malnutrition because one side effect of malnutrition is orange hair. This also clues you in that this play is not taking place in America, but in an unidentified Latin American country which I probably would not have figure out if I did not read the back cover before I started reading the play. I liked how <a href="">Aja</a> mentioned that fact that because this is American Lit you expect the setting to be America, but in this particular novel, that is not the case.

I also liked the dramatic imagery of a Jesus figure with all of the talk about crucifixion and the fact that Henri says that the people think of him as "The Messiah, the son of god!" (Miller 17).

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How it feels.

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"How does it feel? How does it feel?" (Niffenegger 1)

This book is an easy read and I am enjoying t very much. It is very light-hearted and different from all the other books we have read. I particularly liked the Prologue of the Book The Time Traveler's Wife. I really enjoyed how everything was described and worded and it made me fell like I actually knew what he was feeling. Niffenegger used great detail and it drew me in and made me want to continue to read how he dealt with the condition.

Another thing I liked about the book is that it is written from two different points of view. It made me understand what was going on a lot better and it helped me enjoy the book more. I liked seeing both sides of the story and how they both view each event.

How did you feel about it being told from two different points of view?


Different depending on the era?

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"Besides, he admits in a famous essay on the crafting of the novel that he really has no knowledge of nineteenth-century lovemaking, and in depicting sex between a Victorian man and woman what he's really writing is 'science fiction'" (Foster 145-146).

I found this quote interesting because I was under the impression that no matter the time period, sex was still the same as it is now. Is it really right to call writing a sex scene about a different era "science fiction"? Personally, I don't think so.

I really don't think that sex could be that much different in the Victorian age than it is now. I'm sure it's not exactly the same as we see it now, but I would think it would be similar. I know this is not Foster talking, but I feel like Fowles is giving himself too much credit fro writing a Victorian sex scene. It's like he wants us to think of him more highly for doing something that's different than something from the modern time.

Well, this is just my opinion, what do you think?



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While reading Invisible Man I couldn't help but still think about why the narrator is nameless. I know it is probably to heighten the fact that the character is invisible, but the more I read, the more I realized we really don't know anything about this character, he keeps changing.

"No, I thought, shifting my body, they're the same legs on which I've come so far from home. And yet they were somehow new. The new suit imparted a newness to me. It was the clothes and the new name and the circumstances. It was a newness too subtle to put into thought,but there it was. I was becoming someone else" (335).

When I read this quote in chapter 16, it heightened my idea that the character was more of a shapeshifter type of character. Also, I found this quote to dramatize the idea that joining the brotherhood really did change the narrator into a different person. Did anybody else feel this way about it?


Less dry.

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I liked this article much better than the first one we read. One reason is because I found it less dry and I think I also enjoyed it more because I like the book Invisible Man a whole lot better than Grapes of Wrath so I remembered the parts in the book he was referencing more vividly. Another reason I like this article more was because I found it related to the book a lot more than the last one. The one on Grapes of Wrath seemed to be more about nature than actually relating anything to the book.

"In the end, the speech is fabulously successful; after finding his point of
"contact" within an otherwise inscrutable mass of listeners, the protagonist
delivers a virtuoso spoken performance drawing its strength from the audience's
enthusiastic participation. The format of his speech is, in a way, generic:"I
had to fall back upon tradition and since it was a political meeting," the
narrator explains, "I selected one of the political techniques that I'd heard so
often at home" (Ellison 1981, 342). But more than strictly "political," his
chosen technique is also spiritual and musical, drawing upon a tradition of
call-and-response oration that also informs the improvisational styles of jazz
composition.' (76).

I really liked the connection to jazz music. I did notice sort of a musical style to his speeches but never really thought to relate it to jazz.

Overall, I enjoyed this article, but I have to agree with Aja's blog, I also got the names mixed up a couple times. How did you enjoy this article compared to the other?


Attention grabber

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"Blindfolded, I could no longer control my motions. I had no dignity. I stumbled about like a baby or a drunken man. The smoke had become thicker and with each new blow it seemed to sear and further restrict my lungs. My saliva became like hot bitter glue. A glove connected with my head, filling my mouth with warm blood. It was everywhere. I could not tell if the moisture I felt upon my body was sweat or blood" (22).

The first chapter of this book I found particularly disturbing. It is some of the most intense writing I've ever read and it made me want to keep reading, but not because I liked what was happening, more because I was disturbed by it. The fact that they were blindfolded and fighting was bad, but when it started talking about the electrified rug, i found it just demented. How can people get pleasure out of this type of abuse?

I started this book not knowing anything about it. This chapter grabbed my attention and makes me want to keep reading to see what will happen next. The author did a great job at grabbing the readers attention right from the beginning.

What did you think about it? Does it make you want to continue reading?


Article about the book...or nature?

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While reading this article I couldn't help but notice how much the article seemed to talk about nature, more than the book. Although Cassuto does use all the talk about nature to relate to the book, he he talking like the book actually happened. Is this not what we were taught NOT to do by Professor Jerz?

"At the dawn of the common era, John offered Jesus his baptism in the River Jordan. Two millennia later, Casy baptized Tom Joad in an irrigation ditch."

Jesus was a historical figure, where as Casy and Joad are not. It bothered me that he was talking about Casy and Joad as if they were real people, not just characters in the book. The article was not an easy read and I had to read some paragraphs more than once just to get the gist of what Cassuto was talking about.

However, like I stated before it seems as though the topic of the book took a back seat to Cassuto talking about nature. I thought is should have been submitted as an article about nature,  no The Grapes of Wrath. Most of the paragraphs were just talking about land and water, not the book. I don't mind Cassuto talking about nature, but please tie it into the book, and don't use the book to make a claim about history, when the Joad family never existed. Thy're just a fictional character that Steinbeck created.


Daddy a Nazi

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While reading Sylvia Plath's poem "Daddy" I couldn't help but wonder why she called it Daddy instead of Father or Dad because when I hear Daddy I think of a young child who loves their dad and the undertone of this poem is not that of a loving one. What do you think?

"I have always been scared of you
With your Luftwiffle and your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O you----" (Plath 212).

This stanza stuck out to me because it seems as though Plath is comparing her father to Hitler. Sylvia Plath is a Jew so this is not too far out there. Hitler was responsible for the lived of so many Jews and to Plath, her father is Hitler because she is a Jew and he ruined her life in a way.

"If I've killed one man, I've killed two ----
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you lie back now." (Plath 213).

This stanza also stuck out to me because if you don't get the first line, it can be a little confusing. In this stanza I believe she is talking mostly about her husband, not her daddy. She may have married a man that reminded her of her father and he sucked her dry in a way and weakened her. However, we can believe that in the end she finally reaches freedom because the last line "Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through" (Plath 213) is so strong and powerful.


Mind your Ps and Qs

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"My grandfather said to me
as we sat on the wagon seat,
'Be sure to remember to always
speak to everyone you meet.'" (Bishop 48)

I liked Elizabeth Bishop's poem "Manners" because it reminds me of when  went anywhere my mother would always say to me  "Mind your Ps and Qs!" or please and Thank yous, if you've never heard the expression before. Manners are important no matter where you live, and if you have good manners people will respect you as a person more. This poem has a very happy tone to it which is different from most poets who seem to have a depressing undertone to most of their poems.

I don't think there is any other way to interpret this poem other than a child following whatever their grandpa does and learning to follow good manners. But, I could be mistaken. What do you think?


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